Skip to Content

Can You Drive With A Nail In Your Tire?

Can You Drive With A Nail In Your Tire?

When you are driving down a highway, along a country road, or even in a city, you may run over a nail (good thing you got that warranty, right?.

When you do, it will puncture your tire and become embedded in it, usually without your knowledge. Can you drive with a nail in your tire?

Driving with a nail in your tire is not advised as it could cause the tire to become dangerously flat or result in a blowout. The tire should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to ensure safe driving.

Keep reading to learn more about what can happen when you drive with a nail in your tire.

What Happens if You Drive with a Nail in Your Tire?

When you have a nail in your tire, there is plenty of stuff going on concerning your tire that will need your immediate attention.

Once the nail enters your tire, the good news is that more than likely your tire will continue to maintain an acceptable amount of air pressure, at least long enough for you to drive to a nearby service station or tire store. 

However, that’s not always the case. 

Depending on the size of the nail, how it entered your tire, and the damage it may have done in doing so, it is possible there could be other cuts or puncture marks on the tire, meaning your tire could lose air much more rapidly than you anticipate. 

Unfortunately, having a nail in your tire may also increase the chances you will suffer a blowout, especially if you continue to drive your vehicle a long distance and at high speeds. 

While some nails may be very short and do minimal damage to your tire, other nails that are longer may actually breach your tire’s shoulder and sidewall. If this occurs, this compromises the structure and integrity of your tire very much. 

As a result, your tire could overheat, experience tread separation, and explode, potentially causing a very serious accident.

If the nail that punctured your tire is short, it will probably not keep air from leaking out of the tire. Thus, the longer you drive, the more air pressure you will lose.

Eventually, you’ll be surprised to discover you are driving on a flat tire, which could also lead to a blowout!

How Long Can You Drive with a Nail in Your Tire?

When you discover a nail in your tire and determine that your tire is not losing any air, you may think it won’t cause any more harm if you continue to drive around with that nail in your tire indefinitely. 

If you make this assumption, you are wrong.

Though you’re probably like most drivers and didn’t discover the nail in your tire immediately after it happened, this doesn’t mean everything is okay if you have driven many miles. In fact, you should assume the worst and get your car to a service center right away.

Based on the information from experts who know all about nails in tires, we have found that it’s recommended that you only drive the minimum distance needed to either get your car home or to a service center, where the tire can be either repaired or replaced. 

Should you be determined to continue driving indefinitely with that nail in your tire, it is probable you will do more and more damage to your tire. 

Along with altering the tread on the tire, the nail may also be damaging the sidewall and shoulder of the tire as you drive. 

Since tires can take only so much stress before they start to overheat and have their tread start to separate, you will be risking a blowout if you don’t get your tire looked at as soon as possible. 

Can a Tire Explode from a Nail?

As you have no doubt figured out by now, we have emphasized more than a few times that yes, a tire can potentially explode from having a nail that’s embedded within it. 

Since you probably won’t realize your tire contains a nail, this increases the risk that a tire explosion may take place. 

Even if your tire is not losing air pressure due to being punctured by the nail, it will still be compromised. Thus, should you be driving along in a normal manner and have your tire run over a pothole or other rough spot in the road that puts increased stress on your tire, an explosion could occur. 

Since tires often explode when they overheat, driving down a highway at higher speeds can also create circumstances that make a blowout likely. 

If your tire is losing air, more of it is touching the road as you drive, which is not a good thing. This leads to increased friction, which when coupled with damage that may be occurring to the shoulder and sidewall could result in an explosion. 

In some cases, you may be fortunate enough to realize your tire has a nail in it almost as soon as it happens.

If you happen to hear a clicking sound as you are driving that seems to be coming from outside the car, there is a good chance it is coming from a nail in one of your tires. 

Also, if you feel like one of your tires may be thumping at you go down the road, this could indicate it may be losing air due to a nail puncture. Should you experience this, it is best if you pull over right away and find out what is happening. 

Otherwise, your tire may continue to lose air from the nail until it goes below 20 pounds per square inch, which would have you driving on what is considered to officially be a flat tire.

How to Temporarily Fix a Nail in Your Tire

If you are driving around and discover your tire does contain a nail, the good news is that you can give your tire a temporary fix that will last until you can get it to a mechanic.

The first step in this process is to of course remove the nail from the tire.

Most of the time, you can do so by using a claw hammer to gently pull out the nail. If you pull too hard, you will risk damaging the tire even more, perhaps to the point where you will have no choice but to get it replaced.

Once the nail is out, many people choose to use a can of spray foam rubber that is made specifically to plug holes in tires. Costing only a few dollars and available at almost any auto parts or retail store, the can usually has a long point that can be inserted into the hole, allowing the spray to easily enter the hole. 

Once you see the foam reach the top of the hole, stop spraying. 

Becoming hard almost instantly, this can get you back on the road quickly and on your way to a service center.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Tire with a Nail In It?

If the nail entered your tire in an area that is closer to the tire’s middle rather than its outer edges, the good news is that fixing the tire will probably only cost you a few dollars. 

Once you take your car to a service center, the technician will examine your tire to make sure it is in fact one that can be repaired. If so, the tire will be removed from your vehicle, then have a patch inserted over the puncture to seal the hole. 

A quick repair job for a professional, it will likely cost only $10-$20 for this repair job. 

If you suffer a nail puncture and can get your vehicle to a tire dealer where you originally purchased your tires, most dealers will offer tire repair services for free, so you may want to keep this in mind. 

However, only attempt to do this if your tire dealer is a short distance from your location. 

Otherwise, you may risk driving too far on a tire that may be very damaged, leading to you having a serious accident.

Will I Need a New Tire if I Run Over a Nail?

This will depend on many factors. First, if the nail is stuck closer to your tire’s outer edges, you most likely will need a new tire, since the nail may have damaged the sidewalls and shoulder.

Also, if you ran over a large nail, such as a roofing nail, this increases the chances you will need a new tire. 

When a nail punctures a tire, any puncture that is larger than 1/4 inch in diameter will mean the tire must be replaced. 

Finally, how long you have driven around with the nail in your tire will also determine whether the tire can be repaired or must be replaced. Unfortunately, many drivers make the mistake of continuing to drive with nails in their tires. 

As a result, they wind up buying a new tire, when in many cases they could have gotten the tire repaired at a much cheaper price.

If you find a nail in your tire, don’t procrastinate. By getting it looked at immediately by a technician, you can get back on the road and be safe behind the wheel.

Related Posts

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!